Lando Norris goes into the final race of the first triple-header of 2020 in good spirits after two strong races at the Red Bull Ring that saw him finish third and fifth.
The McLaren F1 Team racer currently sits third in the championship standings heading into this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring, but he knows that everyone will need a reset on a track that is much different to that in Austria and requires a different set-up.
Norris says it is important for McLaren to try and maintain the momentum they’ve gathered in the opening two events, and he wants to be in a position to fight for the big points once again on Sunday.
“The past two races in Austria have been amazing for us and I can’t wait to go racing again in Hungary,” said Norris. “After two weeks at the same circuit we need to reset and work hard to continue building on these solid results.
“This track has more slower speed corners and is much tighter than in Austria. It should give us a new benchmark on the performance of the car. I’ve driven on this track a few times throughout my career, including at my first-ever F1 test back in 2017, so I’ve got good memories. I’m hoping that experience will help me to hit the ground running on Friday.
“We know we can’t get ahead of ourselves only two races into the season. It’s been a great start but now we need to try and maintain our momentum and fight for the best possible points.”
“We’re all working in the right direction” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. secured a career-best third place on the grid in last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, but the Spaniard could only finish ninth to add to his fifth place in the Austrian race seven days earlier.
Despite the relatively poor result, Sainz feels McLaren are working in the right direction as they bid to close the gap to the front of the field, and he wants to continue their strong-looking start to the campaign in Hungary this weekend.
“After a Styrian GP of mixed feelings, with a great Saturday and a very frustrating race on Sunday, I’ve spent a couple more days in Austria training and recharging batteries before the last grand prix of this first triple-header,” said Sainz.
“I head to Hungary with the confidence of knowing that, despite the last race result, we’re all working in the right direction at McLaren and I feel positive after a promising start to the season.
“The Hungaroring, however, poses a different challenge to what we’ve faced for the past two weeks in Austria, so we must be prepared. I had a great race there last season finishing P5 and, as always, I’m looking to build on that and keep improving.”
“It’s always a challenge going into a triple-header” – Piere Thynne
Piers Thynne, the Production Director at McLaren, has praised the team, particularly those back at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, for their efforts to get the parts needed to get through a trio of races so early in the season.
After the delays to the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic, all of the teams were forced into a shutdown to ensure the usual summer break could be used to accommodate races after the initial ten events were either cancelled, postponed or rescheduled.
“It’s always a challenge going into a triple-header, even more so early in the season with what is essentially a brand-new car,” said Thynne. “The production team back at the MTC has done an excellent job in ensuring we have all the parts we need for the three-week period while maintaining high build quality.
“Over the two weekends in Austria we have been able to contain issues and maintain good reliability, but we can never let our guard down. It’s a testament to the hard work put in by the team to achieve this level of reliability, as well as the excellent driving of Lando and Carlos to minimise the strain on spare parts.”
Thynne says the team should be able to push again during this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix as they bid for another strong performance from both Norris and Sainz, despite the different challenge the Hungaroring presents compared to the Red Bull Ring.
“As the team head to Hungary, we find ourselves in a good position to push again,” he added. “The Hungaroring brings a set of different challenges compared to those found in Austria, but we’ll be prepared.
“Due to the high downforce levels needed at the tight, twisty and relatively slow-speed track in Hungary, we expect to trim the car very differently compared to the fast and flowing circuit in Austria, and this race will also give us a new test of reliability.
“Looking beyond the Hungarian GP, our attention turns to the next triple-header as we head to both grands prix at Silverstone and Barcelona. As always, we’re looking to improve the car at every opportunity, and our focus will start to shift further towards car updates and away from our provision of spares.
“The compressed nature of this season will require teams to delicately balance resources between car upgrades and spare parts, but it’s an exciting challenge and one we’re ready to take on.”